Amazon is a giant in the eCommerce world, with an astounding market share of $280.5 billion as of 2019. However, not all sellers are trustworthy. A few red flags to look out for include a lack of reviews, long shipping times, and odd spelling or grammatical errors in product descriptions.
Amazon makes it very easy for anyone to set up a seller account, and then hawk products on its marketplace. As a result, the company does next to nothing to vet its third party merchants, and that can be dangerous for shoppers. A fake seller may use a nonsense brand name in an attempt to avoid being caught by Amazon’s algorithms, or they might use a new account to avoid getting booted from the platform when they get a flood of bad feedback and customer complaints. These tactics work, and the scammers often sell a lot of merchandise before being stopped by Amazon.
Look for suspicious communication, particularly emails asking for sensitive information such as passwords to your Amazon account. Also check a seller’s review history, and be wary if almost all reviews are written within a few days or weeks of each other. This could indicate that the sellers bought and published fake positive reviews in bulk.
Although Amazon does a good job of policing their platform, it can be difficult to spot fraudsters. This is especially true when a counterfeit product makes its way into the marketplace.
Fraudsters will often try to sell counterfeit products on amazon.com/code in order to make money by selling illegitimate goods. This is not only illegal but also can cause buyers to lose their trust in the seller and Amazon as a whole. This is why it’s important to check the seller’s feedback and how their name is spelled. Look for odd syntax and punctuation, as this is a sign that they are trying to avoid being caught by Amazon’s algorithm.
Lastly, you should always check that the seller has insurance for their business. This is a requirement by Amazon to protect their customers and the sellers themselves. Having this coverage is also a sign that the seller has the means to cover any damages from product liability claims.
Counterfeiting has become a big problem for Amazon third party sellers. According to reports, counterfeit products are sold on the site in a variety of categories, especially high-value items like electronics and luxury goods.
It is also possible for sellers to steal information about competitors by using an insider at Amazon. Mid to senior-level employees, specifically in China, have access to a private network that allows them to view business reports for any seller. They can then resell this information in a number of ways, including asking for customer reviews or reselling the product under their own name.
A client of mine, Romy Banicu, spent years developing his brand and building up legitimate sales only to be stung by listing hijackers. These sellers would illegally use his branding and product images and report him for selling counterfeits. This can cause the brand to lose its Amazon seller account. To combat this, brands should enlist in Amazon’s Brand Registry program and gate their product listings.
Whether you’re an experienced Amazon shopper or you’ve just started using the site, you’ve probably run into third-party sellers that haven’t been quite up to par. One bad experience can taint your view of all new sellers and may cause you to shy away from them in the future.
You can avoid a lot of this by buying only items that say “Fulfilled by Amazon.” This will make sure the manufacturer warehouses the item themselves rather than allowing third-party sellers to do so. While this won’t prevent all problems, it will certainly make it much less likely that you receive a counterfeit or defective product.
Besides looking for the “Fulfilled by Amazon” label, you should also look out for any strange spelling or grammar errors. These can be telltale signs of a fake seller. Also, a good record of customer feedback is important. If you see too many negative reviews related to shipping times or missing products, it could be a red flag.